RtW Cities: Stuttgart (+Ludwigsburg)

Merry Christmas (/ Fröhliche Weihnachten) and Happy New Year to you all! I thought I'd sneak one last cities blog post in to 2012, rounding out my year with a trip to Stuttgart (and neighbouring Ludwigsburg) to enjoy some authentic German Xmas markets!

Since moving to Zurich, the only German city I've actually stopped in has been Dogern to go furniture shopping, so Christmas seemed a good time of year to actually make a trip out of it, Katie and I were both free for a weekend and heard good things about their markets so headed down for a long weekend - it's only a 3hr direct train ride!

The Xmas market influence was clear immediately, as the walk from the main station to our hotel went along Königstraße, the main shopping street which was lined with market stalls, reindeer and tannenbaum aplenty. We explored a bit further out around the gardens to the east, then headed back into the fray, as the crowd was getting big! After a quick dinner and a mug of warm Apfelglühwein, we also picked up some decorations / candles for our home for Xmas.

The following day was another trip, this time a short train ride to be shown around Ludwigsburg by friends, a small Baroque town with a mighty palace (from Duke Ludwig, surprise) which once housed the Kings of Württemberg. Certainly an impressive place to see, it kind of makes me wish there were still crazy egotistic rich people who built fancy castles close to populated areas... and having satisfied my Baroque architecture fondness for the trip, we also experienced the Ludwigsburg's markets, packed much more tightly into the main square, between the rather imposing dual facing churches (protestant and catholic).

I think the most impressive thing about Stuttgart for me was it felt slightly closer to what I'm used to in an Australian city - there was a big mall street, plenty of small stores (including a club that was still belting music onto the streets at 10am Sunday!), coffee places, and a food/restaurant street (Calwerstraße). Despite this, it though also maintained the European feel, with impressive large stone buildings, clock towers, random churches, and generally, places of historic interest from many centuries ago. So, a really nice mix, and I look forwards to trying out Berlin/Munich maybe next year (sadly, no Ampelmännchen in Stuttgart!).

As usual nowadays, more photos are also available in this album.


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